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Redstockings posted this documentary as the Bush administration was shifting the pretext for having invaded Iraq from   "weapons of mass destruction"  (not there) to "liberating Iraqi women."  As the following images and quotes reveal, at the time of the U.S. invasion Iraq was one of the most progressive countries for women in the region, far more progressive than U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.   

In the invasion's aftermath, equality between men and women has decreased, not advanced. As reported by Women for Women International, on top of the carnage of war and the ensuing disruption of basic services like clean water, electricity and medical care, Iraqi women are now plagued by the rise of conservative Islamists (Code Pink, 4/9/08)

Iraqi women military volunteers pictured in Time Magazine, November 12, 1990 with the caption "In Baghdad, volunteers for the popular army are marching as if to war." Nicholas Kristof, in the New York Times, notes "Iraqi women routinely boss men and serve in non-combat positions in the army." New York Times October 1st, 2002 "Iraq's Little Secret" Photo: Luigi Baldelli--Contrasto/Saba.


"Saddam Hussein lives in a world in which women's liberation is a contradiction in terms, in which a woman with her sleeves rolled up is considered a rebuke to her creator. …Perhaps this will inspire him to treat any female prisoners like pack animals. Or perhaps the paternalistic attitudes of the Muslim world will lead him to tread more carefully…"
Anna Quindlen, on the possible treatment of female U.S. Prisoners of War in Iraq during the Gulf War of 1991. "Women Warriors" New York Times, Feb. 3, 1991, p. E19

"They [opponents of the U.S. occupation] know this is a war over ideas and values and governance. They know this war is about Western powers, helped by the U.N., coming into the heart of their world to promote more decent, open, tolerant, woman-friendly, pluralistic governments by starting with Iraq..."
Thomas L. Friedman, "Fighting 'The Big One'" New York Times, August 24, 2003, p. wk11

"[The town meeting with U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns (R)] included a Power Point presentation on the Iraq war. This fascinating presentation included the statement that part of the intent of the invasion was to improve the status of women's rights in that country."
Fay Baird, "Meeting not just a pep rally," Gainesville (FL) Sun, May 14, 2003

"...The Iraq constitution mandates equality between sexes, races, languages, social backgrounds and religions. It calls for equal pay for equal work, work benefits, and advancement opportunities. Iraqi women have the right to vote. They vote in somewhat equal percentages as men (46%).

"Women have the right to own land and control their personal finances. They have the right to divorce in civil courts. The literacy rate for women and men is 89%. Women make up 70% of all pharmacists, 46% of all dentists, 29% of all doctors, and 27% of the industrial work force.

"...Women are entitled to the identical inheritance of men. Child care centers are fully paid by the government, and women have 6 months paid maternity leave. Contraception is legal and available. Abortion is not legal. There are 38 women in the National Assembly, made up of 250 members. Iraq has a strong and well-organized feminist movement. With the destruction of Iraq it is likely that women will lose much of what they fought so long to gain.
("NOW critical of Bush's Middle East Meddling" by Beth Corbin, Jennifer Goldberg and Sarah Springer, National Organization for Women, National NOW Times, March/April 1991, pp. 1ff.)

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